You Need Shared Definitions

You can’t come to an agreement about a topic unless you share the same definition of the topic.

Communities fall victim to this all the time.

You and I, for example, might share different definitions of what we mean by ‘community’. Your colleagues might too.

Does ‘community’ mean your entire set of stakeholders? (staff, customers, investors etc?)
Does ‘community’ only mean your audience?
Does ‘community’ only mean people who visit a specific community platform?
Does ‘community’ only mean people who visit and participate on our platform?
Does ‘community’ only mean people who visit, participate, and feel a sense of community with one another on your platform?
Does ‘community’ include or exclude people who engage with you and each other on social media?

Until you have a shared understanding of what ‘community’ means, you can’t discuss goals, strategies, or what it means to be a ‘member’ of the community.

This is a great workshop exercise. You can facilitate a session with colleagues (and, yes, members/customers). Provide a few options, let people share how they would define community, and explain the implications of each definition. Then bring people to an agreement on how to define a community.

Once you’re done, create a simple diagram showcasing what community includes (and doesn’t include). Then share this with your team and include it in any document you send out.

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